High School and College Career
Kyle Kitchens born and raised in Decatur, Georgia, which is just outside of downtown Atlanta. He would attend Decatur High School, where he played four different sports. Baseball, basketball, lacrosse, and of course football.
Kitchens would go on to play at Catawba College in another small town Salsbury, North Carolina. This is where Kitchens really began to shine. During college he would rack up a list of awards and recognitions. Ultimately by the time he would graduate, he was a 3 time All American, All Conference, and All Region in Division II Football. He was named SAC Conference Defensive Player of the Year twice, and was named the 2015 Region Player of the CCA.
Professional Career Begins
After leaving Catawba College as their all time sack leader with 38.5 sacks, Kitchens set his sights on the professional world. Looking up to Von Miller, Kitchens had high hopes of landing with the NFL in 2019. However this ultimately did not pan out for him right away, and he turned to other options. This would lead him to the Potsdam Royals in 2019.
In the German Football League also known as the GFL, teams are allowed just 4 American Born players on their roster. Offering contracts that range between $600-800 a month, along with other potential perks. This was the opportunity Kitchens needed to put professional level film out there.
The 2019 season was another display of what Kyle Kitchens can do on a football field as a hybrid DE/LB like Von Miller. Kitchens, a man who prides himself in his pass rush was able to rack up 16 sacks as a rookie, to go along with 31 tackles for a loss…..no that’s not a typo. This man set up camp in the opponents backfield every play, and simply dominated opposing offensive lines. It was clear he had the talent to play at a higher level.
Covid 19 Leads to ELF
For the 2020 season, he signed with another GFL team. This time it was the Hildesheim, Invaders but Covid 19 ultimately caused the cancellation of the 2020 season. Leaving Kitchens without a place to play for that season. Despite this fact, that’s when a team in the European League of Football reached out.
Before the 2021 season the Leipzig Kings would offer Kitchens a contract. Kitchens would immediately reward their faith. He would go on to total 13 sacks, including a 4.5 sack game in week 8. Again he had 23 tackles for a loss as well. This placed him squarely in the conversation for many awards.
Finally Getting the Recognition He Deserves
He would find himself as a Defensive Player of the Year Nominee, and also was named to the All Europe First Team Defense. The second year player, was simply dominating whichever league would give him a chance to this point.
Kyle Kitchens, Aslan Zetterberg, and Olav Røhnebæk formed a strong core of the defense. Ultimately Kitchens led the league in sacks, with Zetterberg ranking 3rd with 7. Together they totaled 20 sacks and both averaged at least 1 sack per game. With the 2021 season in the books, Kitchens was named the European League of Football Defensive Player of the Year. Adding yet another honor to his decorated resume.
On to the Next Chapter
Prior to the 2022 season Kyle was signed by the Berlin Thunder, a name that might ring bells for NFL fans out there. Back in the early 2000’s the NFL helped run the NFLEL a developmental league where they had teams like, Berlin Thunder, Frankfurt Galaxy, Hamburg Sea Devils, Cologne Centurions, Barcelona Dragons, and the Rhein Fire. This means over half of the current European League of Football team names and likenesses stem from the NFL version over two decades ago now.
In 2021 Berlin finished last in their division with a 3-7 record and knew they needed to acquire big name talent to compete in 2022. Kyle Kitchens was the top name on their list to improve a pass rush that needs the help. Kitchens to his credit looks poised for another massive season, and likely has already cleared room for his next award, as he strives to achieve his dreams of playing in the NFL eventually. Good Luck to Kyle Kitchens in 2022 and beyond!
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